Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Congress and its last-minute cram session

Like a student who waited until the night before a deadline, lawmakers resuming work Monday will try to cram two years of leftover business into two weeks, while also seeking to avoid a government shutdown. Their to-do list includes keeping the government running into the new year, renewing expired tax breaks for individuals and businesses and approving a defense policy measure that has passed for more than 50 years in a row. Also pending are President Barack Obama’s requests for money to combat Islamic State militants, battle Ebola and deal with the influx of unaccompanied Central American children who have
Read More

Southern Dems: Let’s get back to basics

Southern Democrats are joining others in the party who say that a return to advocating to lift people out of economic hardship and emphasizing spending on education and public works will re-energize black voters and attract whites as well. “It’s time to draw a line in the sand and not surrender our brand,” Rickey Cole, the party chairman in Mississippi, said. He believes candidates have distanced themselves from the past half-century of Democratic principles. “We don’t need a New Coke formula,” Cole said. “The problem is we’ve been out there trying to peddle Tab and RC Cola.” Cole and other
Read More

GOP not sure how to stop Obama on immigration

United against President Barack Obama but uncertain how to stop him, outraged Republicans struggled for a response on immigration Friday that would check the president without veering into talk of impeachment or a government shutdown. Their remedy was far from clear. Republicans weighed filing a lawsuit. Or trying to block funding for Obama’s move. Or advancing immigration measures of their own. But the party was divided, and Obama’s veto pen seemed to give him the upper hand. And so, less than three weeks removed from midterm elections where they retook the Senate and amassed a historic majority in the House,
Read More

Government shutdown? Who, us?

  Top Republicans say two things are clear: Last year’s government shutdown hurt the party. And Republicans must not let the president’s pending immigration action bait them into a repeat. But some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers from safe districts don’t see it that way. They say another shutdown must be an option if President Barack Obama keeps his promise to halt, by executive action, the threat of deportation for large numbers of immigrants living here illegally. The disagreement may force Republican leaders to quell an insurrection just when they hope to capitalize on what they consider a presidential blunder. Republican Rep.
Read More

Scrambling for Senate votes on Keystone XL pipeline

With the clock ticking, supporters of a Senate bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline are still scrambling to find the last vote. With 59 Senators publicly voicing support, the hunt was on for the 60th vote before a critical vote Tuesday to advance the measure. Maine independent Sen. Angus King left the possibility open, telling reporters he was a “probable no.” All 45 Republicans support it, and 11 Democrats have signed onto the bill, along with three others who have publicly said they will vote “yes.” That leaves just one. The issue has taken center stage in the waning
Read More

Vote Friday on Keystone Pipeline

The Republican-controlled House is on track to easily pass a bill Friday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and this time, the Senate may follow. The bill marks the ninth attempt by the House to secure approval of the pipeline, which has been repeatedly delayed by environmental reviews, legal challenges to its route and politics. Prior votes in the Senate on the issue have failed to get enough votes, but supporters said Thursday they were close to reaching that threshold. Both the GOP and Senate Democrats hope the votes will give an edge to their party’s candidate in the
Read More

Close Alaska race gives GOP another Senate seat

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich couldn’t pull off another election surprise as voter disapproval of President Barack Obama helped push him and other Democrats out of office. Republican Dan Sullivan, a Marine Corps reservist and assistant secretary of state under President George W. Bush, defeated the first-term incumbent as part of a wave in which Republicans picked up eight seats and regained control of the Senate. Another Senate race is yet to be decided in Louisiana. The Alaska race was too close to call on Election Night last week, with Sullivan up by about 8,100 votes, but it became evident Tuesday
Read More

Will Congress approve expanded role in Iraq?

Congress members returning to Capitol Hill next week will face a debate over President Barack Obama’s new $5.6 billion plan to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq and send up to 1,500 more American troops to the war-torn nation. Obama authorized the deployment of advisory teams and trainers to bolster struggling Iraqi forces across the country, including into Iraq’s western Anbar province where fighting with Islamic State militants has been fierce. His decision comes just three days after bruising midterm elections for his Democratic Party. But the deployments hinge on whether Obama can get the funding approved in Congress’ lame-duck
Read More

After the rout, Republicans ready to get moving

Their rout complete, Republicans are celebrating sweeping victories from North Carolina to Colorado. The GOP’s success, however, may have as much to do with the dynamics of a low-turnout midterm election as widespread dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s leadership, according to operatives and pollsters still working to understand how the Republican Party exceeded its own already high expectations this week. An estimated 37 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the midterm elections, said Michael McDonald, an associate professor at the University of Florida. If that projection holds, it would be the lowest turnout since 1942, when Americans busy
Read More

Are we ready for a younger Senate?

The next Senate will be slightly younger than the current one. With several races still to be called, the 11 newly-minted senators set to take office in January are, on average, 16 years younger than the lawmakers they are replacing. Each incoming senator is younger than the departing senator — some by decades. Four of the new senators are under 50, boosting a small contingent of Generation X members in the upper chamber. Gen Xers follow baby boomers and were born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. At 37, Republican Sen.-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the youngest
Read More